HAMPSHIRE Senior Cup hero Mark Travers admitted even heading the ball in training was a rarity for him – despite the goalkeeper’s thumping leveller against Eastleigh.

Cherries had trailed 2-1 in the final of the competition at Totton before Travers came up from the back to meet Gavin Kilkenny’s corner.

The Republic of Ireland international’s stunning leap and bullet header made it 2-2 to force a penalty shootout.

Having also kept out a penalty in normal time, Travers was Cherries’ match-winner, saving from Dan Bradshaw before Shaun Cooper’s men triumphed 5-3 on spot-kicks.

Reacting to his equalising goal, Travers told afcbTV: “I just looked at the bench and saw Coops signalling me to go up. I thought why not? Last few minutes, 2-1 down in a final.

“I just got myself into the box, made that near-post run and thankfully Gav put a great ball in, it landed straight on my head and thankfully I was able to hit the target.

“It was a weird one to be honest. In the goalkeeper sessions, I’m always the one who doesn’t go for the headers when we are practicing them in training!

“There was a bit of banter at the end with them, just saying it’s the first header I’ve got. It was a bit of fun and thankfully it did go in.”

Travers’s sublime display ensured Cherries won the trophy for the third time.

Their previous triumph came in 1989, before the Maynooth-born keeper was born.

Keeper Travers has developed a reputation for being tough to beat from the penalty spot.

He saved three spot-kicks in a Carabao Cup shootout against Forest Green at Vitality Stadium last season – and also saw a spot-kick missed when Cherries played Luton in the FA Cup last term.

“I wouldn’t say I practice too much, I just love being in goal for penalty shootouts,” he added.

“I really get a good buzz from that and thankfully I was able to get a foot to the first one and make a save in the shootout as well.

“When it comes to the moment, I really enjoy it.”